An image of Ty skiing in the Villager Trees area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont during increasing snowfall at the start of Winter Storm Pandora

Bolton Valley, VT 21FEB2015

An image of Dylan jumping off a cliff into deep powder at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
The boys made some especially good use of Bolton Valley’s deep powder today, bombing their way off some of cliffs.

We’re getting another reprieve from the arctic air this weekend, but last night was still quite cold with temperatures well down into the negative Fahrenheit numbers. We gave the day some time to warm up, and then headed up to Bolton Valley’s Timberline area in the afternoon. The snow from our next system, Winter Storm Pandora, was slated to start up at some point in the afternoon today, and indeed the flakes began to fly right around 2:00 P.M. There’s nothing like riding the lift into the higher elevations just as a storm is ramping up, because it can really make the snowfall intensity jump up quite rapidly.

“You could still tell that the powder wasn’t absolutely pristine fresh stuff, since it had that settled look and didn’t explode like fresh champagne, but it was quite excellent in general. The boys checked the surface snow depth in the KP Glades and were getting back numbers in the 30″ range.”

Temperatures were in the middle teens F in the lower elevations of Timberline, but it definitely got colder as we headed up in elevation. For a warm up we hit Tattle Tale from the Timberline Summit, and the center of the headwall is still quite wind scoured as usual, but the sides held some great snow. You know the weather pattern has been good when even a steep, windswept slope like the top of Tattle Tale has that good snow that you can sink and edge into. It was actually nice to see Bolton Valley top all the Vermont ski areas and pull off a rogue foot of snow on Thursday, but there had definitely been a bit of wind since then that packed it down in exposed areas. Noticing that, we headed for the trees, and the settling and wind effects were notably less. You could still tell that the powder wasn’t absolutely pristine fresh stuff, since it had that settled look and didn’t explode like fresh champagne, but it was quite excellent in general. The boys checked the surface snow depth in the KP Glades and were getting back numbers in the 30″ range.

An image of Ty spraying powder with his skis in the KP Glades area of Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Ty spraying up some good snow in the KP Glades.

The four of us made our way over to the main mountain and headed up Vista. It got colder and colder as we headed up, and it had to be down in the single digits F up there with wind from the incoming storm to boot. Looking for something that would get the blood pumping and keep us out of the wind, we linked Buena Vista to Dynamite. The snow was excellent, but by the time we’d finished Dynamite, E was thinking of heading back to Timberline. She’s got a big toe that she tweaked a couple of weeks back when Tina’s family came up for skiing, and then she stressed it more when she was snowboarding on Sunday at BJAMS ski program. Between that and the cold, she said she just wasn’t grooving enough to ski the steep trees, and was thinking of warming up at the Timberline Base Lodge and then maybe doing some groomed skiing. Using the Deer Run route, we delivered her over to the top of Snowflake, where she headed down toward Timberline and the boys and I headed to the main base lodge to warm up for a bit before another Vista run. On the way we caught some nice powder in the Bonus Woods, fortunately finding that any issues from wind had been minimal.

An image showing the cooks at Fireside Flatbread pizza at Bolton Valley Ski Resort as they prepare balls of dough for the pizza crustsThe boys and I stopped up at Fireside Flatbread for some slices, and Dylan really had fun watching the cooks as they worked with dozens of balls of dough to turn them into those thin crusts. As we watched their slick routine, we made some mental notes for our next homemade pizza night. They let us know that $2 slices were starting at 4:00 P.M., which definitely got us thinking about grabbing some takeout on the way home.

An image showing snow clinging to the side of a large spruce tree in the woods at Bolton Valley Ski Resort in Vermont
Snow clings to a spruce tree off piste at Bolton Valley

The boys and I headed back out into the storm, and Pandora’s snowfall was definitely intensifying. Visibility had certainly been down to ¼ mile at times earlier on in the afternoon, but now it was pretty consistently in that range and we were dealing with some heavy snow. We headed up Vista and worked our way into the Villager Trees for some powder. The boys took a break during the run and bombed off one of the cliffs into the deep fluff below. It was a pretty good height of probably ten feet or so, and I was surprised that they both wanted to go jumping. But when the powder’s deep like it is now, it doesn’t really matter; any hard snow is way down there out of reach. They’d typically land and end up with just their head sticking out of the snow.

“We’ve had inch per hour snows much of the night since then, and if the mountains are getting hit even harder than we are down here, then it should be a good day of skiing tomorrow.”

We skied some nice powder lines back toward Timberline, and by the time we caught back up with E it was after 4:00 P.M. The staff was cleaning up the Timberline Base Lodge, so she’d headed to the car and was all set to meet us. It turns out that she just relaxed in the lodge and stayed warm instead of putting any additional stress on her toe. We’ll see how she’s doing tomorrow for skiing at Stowe.

While we were loading up the car it was really dumping. We ordered a couple of pizzas from Fireside Flatbread, and it was good that the plows were out because the road needed the attention. The intensity of the snowfall certainly lightened up as we headed back down into the valley, but there was two inches on the snowboards at the house when I did an analysis at 5:00 P.M. We’ve had inch per hour snows much of the night since then, and if the mountains are getting hit even harder than we are down here, then it should be a good day of skiing tomorrow.

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